Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Good Year for the Reservoirs

When I was a kid my grandpa lived in southern California and he was obsessed with the Weather Channel. He always seem to be acutely aware of the likelihood of a storm on any given day in Salt Lake City, even though he lived a 12-hour drive away.

Grandpa was also the most paranoid human being I have ever encountered in my life. I have somewhat crippling anxiety, and I 100% inherited this through my mother's father. Grandpa was convinced that the life of every single person he knew was hanging by a thread at all times, and he regularly issued all of us both comically specific and ominously general warnings every time we saw him.

It became a family game to keep a list of these warnings and reference them from time to time.

One time my mom and I had lunch with grandpa while he was visiting Utah. I think I was about 15. As we each walked to our separate cars, grandpa to his and mom and I to ours, he called over to us, "it's a sunny day and you'll be driving into the sun, so you need to be careful."

It was so earnest and intense, the way he said it, that it took us a few minutes to realize how funny the request was. He literally warned us that the sun was out, and he did it in a tone like we were swimming in a pool with sharks and didn't know it. We laughed for the entire drive home and to this day, now twenty years later, my mother and I regularly remind each other to be careful about driving when it's sunny.

"We are turning into my grandpa," I told Skylar recently, as we finished a fifteen-minute conversation about the minute differences in forecasts as told by the various weather apps we each have downloaded onto our phones.

"Well this one says there's a 20% chance of rain until noon, and then that's likely to turn to snow."

"My app, which has been more correct lately than yours, says the rain probably won't turn to snow until at least 2:00 PM."

We check the Utah snowpack map 20 times a day, texting each other things like, "they just updated southern Utah. 170% now. It's looking like a good year for the reservoirs."

"It's looking like a good year for the reservoirs" is not a thing I ever thought I would regularly say to a peer, but here I am, saying it, regularly.

Last night Skylar left the house around 8:30 to meet his friends from medical school to celebrate having taken an exam earlier in the day. The roads were clear; I knew this. It hadn't stormed at all during the day.

"Please be careful, Sky man," I said as he grabbed the keys to leave.

"Why?" he asked. "Do you think the roads might be icy.

"No," I told him. "But it's dark and there's a cloud cover, so please just be careful."

34 is feeling old.

At least I know where I got my fabulous hair, too.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Beautiful! Love this memory. And paaleeeezzzeee be careful tomorrow and DO NOT drive into the sun. ALWAYS DRIVE AWAY FROM IT!
    :) Skylar Too! Tell him! It could be sunny!


    1. Cathie I looooovvvvvveeeeeeee yoooooouuuuuuuuuuuu! This is not Eli btw

  2. I sure do miss grandpa. Was really funny, smart and an extremely hard worker. Could tell and embellish a story with the best of them. I think that is also a talent you inherited from him. Dad

  3. Remember the time we went to Brawley for a visit and went to lunch with him. After lunch he didn’t think we’d be able to find our way back to Nona’s in the very small town so he insisted that we follow him the two streets over so he could make sure we got back ok. When he drove past Nona’s he slowed to an almost stop, rolled down the window and pointed out at Nona’s house in case we didn’t see it.

    1. The house our mother grew up in and which any one of us could have found blindfolded? Yes. I remember that, too.

  4. Ha ha haaa I love this! I’m glad you inherited all that you did from him. I was just driving home and thinking of my parents who are at this moment driving into the sun and I was dithering about whether to text them and tell them to pull off for a bit because snow and ALSO SUN. Now I know I should text them Cathie McCann’s comment! Ha ha

  5. I love that the first comments here are all your family chiming in about grandpa. This is sort of on the same lines, but when I was a teenager I had this weird misunderstanding of how much you had to say to be considered an “honest person”. For example, when people would say, “ok, see you later” or “see you tomorrow” or “see you at the thing on that day” I would respond with some variation of “yep, see you then. Unless I get hit by a bus or something!” And I wasn’t joking or being morbid or anything, I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut knowing that realistically I might have something happen to me that would prevent me from being there and was it honest to promise to be there when I can’t control all the buses in town that might suddenly go out of control like in the movie Speed? It took me a while to break that habit. I think I must have been hard to talk to as a teenager, in a lot of ways.

  6. When we were kids amd our grandma wanted us to do something, she would use this really high-pitched voice and say "Please? For Grandma? Please?" It annoyed us like crazy back then, but now it's a favorite inside joke between my siblings, cousins and me. Makes us laugh every time!

  7. I used to spend the day taking care of my elderly parents until a nurse came. I had to drive throw a canyon to get home and REGULARLY had to drive into the sun. It's no fun, but I don't think I've ever issued that warning. I might have to start.

  8. Lately those weather apps just feel like a map to divorce. Why does it matter whose app was right?!?! #snowyinseattle

  9. You are the spitting image of your grandpa!! Wow!